The local lads

Are you local?

The Espanyol first team boasts more than its fair share of players who have come through the youth system. Don’t worry, these guys are definitely local.

Marc Roca

Espanyol already lost one of their outstanding young performers from last season when Mario Hermoso joined Atletico Madrid for 25 million last month. The other is Marc Roca. 

A few heads were turned thanks to his starring role in Spain’s Euro under-21 success earlier this summer, but so far rumours linking him with a move to Inter Milan or Bayern Munich have come to nothing.

Statistics and result from 2019 Euro under 21 final between Spain and Germany.

It would be a shame to see him join one of the giants this season, where he would most likely spend a considerable amount of time on the bench, rather than stay and lead Espanyol from the centre of the pitch. Of all the players in the current squad, he is perhaps the one that would be the most difficult to replace.

At only 22 years old, time is on his side and he should stay put for the time being.

Expectation level: 7

Óscar Melendo

In the second half of last season Espanyol adopted a 4-3-3 formation with inside forwards. The left-footed Melendo was brought in on the right wing and provided five assists with his nimble dribbling and incisive passes.

Oscar Melendo lays on a typical Borja Iglesias goal on the counter attack

He can lack consistency and this is where fans will hope to see an improvement this year.

Expectation level: 7

Adrià Pedrosa

Pedrosa exploded onto the scene in the final stages of last season. Thrown in at the deep end in the 0-2 derby defeat at the Camp Nou in week 29, he nevertheless took it in his stride and was instrumental in the closing run of eight games unbeaten which took Espanyol into Europe. He is an electrifying presence with his runs from left back: a potential assist machine. He can even provoke opposition players into losing their minds…

Pedrosa leaves Atletico Madrid players for dead

Expectation level: 8

Sergi Darder

Darder is another product of the Espanyol youth system, but has taken the long way round to representing the first team. At 18 years old he moved to Málaga, soon representing Spain at under-21 level, cementing a place in a top-10 Málaga team, and eventually earning a 13 million euro move to Champions League club, Lyon.

Lyon fans certainly have some golden memories of Darder. Here he is playing alongside Lacazette and spoiling Thiago Silva’s day.

Sergi Darder scores for Lyon in the 2015-16 season

A poor relationship with former Lyon coach Bruno Genesio led to a loan move back to Espanyol in summer 2017, which was made permanent for around 8 million euros the following year.

The signing was something of a coup for Espanyol, and with Darder still only 25 years old, the best is surely yet to come. A future captain of los pericos?

Expectation level: 7

Thats all for now. Tomorrow we’ll investigate links between Real Madrid and Espanyol, and have a look at some of the ex-madridistas in the squad. Cheerio!

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